How fast do you close your books?

If you can close your books, distribute reports to stakeholders, AND give analysis or data-driven insights to management within 5 days after period-end, then CONGRATULATIONS — you may stop reading this now and get on with doing a very fine job!

These days, it is not uncommon to find Finance organizations struggling every period-end — swamped with non-value adding activities and overworked during closing — resulting to burned-out employees, increased risk of errors, and out-of-date results. This is especially true in retail organizations (i.e. drugstores, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.) where consolidation of multiple remote locations remains a challenge.

Fret not, here are common and simple solutions and approaches applied from years of experience in various industries:

PEOPLE

  1. Define clear objectives. People will follow you if they know where you are going.
  2. Set key performance indicators. You can’t control (hence, can’t improve) what you can’t measure.
  3. Ensure continuous learning & development. When you know better, you do better.

TECHNOLOGY

  1. Automate. There are already an abundance of technology solutions available even to small enterprises from as basic as desktop automation like workflow and macros to sophisticated cognitive automation.
  2. Integrate. When data is compartmentalized, organizations look to the office of the CFO to initiate integration of various systems in order to operate from a single version of truth.
  3. Innovate. To maintain competitive advantage, it is imperative that your business be up to date with all of the relevant technological upgrades such as cloud-based technology.

PROCESS

  1. Standardize and simplify. From transactions processing to master lists to report templates, standardization enhances the quality of data and makes it easy to spot mistakes/errors.
  2. Implement and enforce effective controls. Strategic checkpoints and red-flags throughout the period eliminates period-end lengthy tracking and tracing and resolution of errors.
  3. Set cut-offs. Pro tip: It doesn’t have to be the last day of the month.
  4. Process documentation. Documentation of tasks that are done more than once or completed by multiple people provides consistency and allows easy monitoring and revision of processes as you go along.
  5. CONTINUOUS ACCOUNTING embeds automation, control, and period-end tasks within day-to-day activities. Blackline explains it accurately in these illustrations (READ MORE: https://www.blackline.com/continuous-accounting).
OLD MODEL: Record-to-report

Blackline - old model

THE MODERN APPROACH: Continuous Accounting

Blackline - modern approach

rapid insights zone

How we can help?

Developing and implementing a solid finance transformation agenda is the hallmark of our ACCOUNTING SERVICES model — we build, operate, and transform fundamental capabilities in people, processes, and technology. Contact us to KNOW MORE about how to FAST CLOSE.

 

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